Southeastern - worst train company?

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sdhodgson91

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So maybe not the worst... I dont have anywhere near enough experience, perhaps a few trains to Nottingham (where the customer service from EMT left a lot to be desired!) but I really dont think they are great.

I don't understand the point of the 'permit to travel' machines dotted along the smaller stations. The guards seem to prefer you just buy the ticket off them - I'm assuming the bring a long extra paperwork?
A lot of stations also don't have them (CBE being an example) and you cant use the self service as entry to the platform is now via the side gate)

They are less than reliable! Constant delays and little information on screens or via personnel at the stations. The number of times Ive missed university because the trains are cancelled and I leave in plenty of time!

The highspeed train, at 140mph how they can call it highspeed is beyond me! Virgin pendo peaks at 125mph if im not mistaken?

And the lack of advanced prices. If i book in advanced it can cost me more to go from Dover to London than London to Glasgow...

rant over ...unless anyone can think of anything else ;)
 
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hluraven

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I use Southeastern daily and they are generally very good.

Just be thankfully you didn't (I assume) travel in the Connex South Eastern days.
 

neilm

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The highspeed train, at 140mph how they can call it highspeed is beyond me! Virgin pendo peaks at 125mph if im not mistaken?

Can someone explain this line to me?

The trains only run at 125mph, they only run at 140mph to make up time. This was very helpful to them as it saved them paying out in the winter 2 years ago when they didn't run a service for days.
 

paul1609

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The trains only run at 125mph, they only run at 140mph to make up time. This was very helpful to them as it saved them paying out in the winter 2 years ago when they didn't run a service for days.





According to my GPS they nearly always achieve 140 mph what they can't do is to run early in to Ashford Southbound, this is because of of capacity constraints on platform 5/6.
 

telstarbox

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I've travelled extensively on Southeastern and all their predecessors since privatisation, and in general I think they're a good TOC - trains are clean, helpful and friendly staff, welcoming stations. As their whole network (bar HS1) is 3rd rail they suffer worse disruption when it snows.
 

YorkshireBear

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The trains only run at 125mph, they only run at 140mph to make up time. This was very helpful to them as it saved them paying out in the winter 2 years ago when they didn't run a service for days.

thats was a rumour that turned out not to be true at all.
 

telstarbox

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I don't understand the point of the 'permit to travel' machines dotted along the smaller stations. The guards seem to prefer you just buy the ticket off them - I'm assuming the bring a long extra paperwork?
A lot of stations also don't have them (CBE being an example) and you cant use the self service as entry to the platform is now via the side gate)

Where they still exist, you're supposed to pay what you can at a PTT machine and use the PTT on the train as payment towards your ticket. Although as you say guards will sell tickets on board, in theory they could ask why you didn't pay before you boarded. It's designed to stop people not paying for short journeys and taking a chance on the guard not coming round before they get off.
 

notadriver

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thats was a rumour that turned out not to be true at all.

Apparently Eurostars are slowed down because of HS1 domestic services. If they only did 125 mph it would be worse. I think they should add motors to the driving vehicles of these units and increase the top speed to 270 kph!
 

paul1609

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Apparently Eurostars are slowed down because of HS1 domestic services. If they only did 125 mph it would be worse. I think they should add motors to the driving vehicles of these units and increase the top speed to 270 kph!

Eurostars have loads of padding inserted in to their schedules so they hit their double slot through the Chunnel. Its not uncommon to see a Paris bound service ready for departure from Ashford (passengers boarded and doors closed) 10 minutes before scheduled departure time.



 

Class377/5

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So maybe not the worst... I dont have anywhere near enough experience, perhaps a few trains to Nottingham (where the customer service from EMT left a lot to be desired!) but I really dont think they are great.

I don't understand the point of the 'permit to travel' machines dotted along the smaller stations. The guards seem to prefer you just buy the ticket off them - I'm assuming the bring a long extra paperwork?
A lot of stations also don't have them (CBE being an example) and you cant use the self service as entry to the platform is now via the side gate)

They are less than reliable! Constant delays and little information on screens or via personnel at the stations. The number of times Ive missed university because the trains are cancelled and I leave in plenty of time!

The highspeed train, at 140mph how they can call it highspeed is beyond me! Virgin pendo peaks at 125mph if im not mistaken?

And the lack of advanced prices. If i book in advanced it can cost me more to go from Dover to London than London to Glasgow...

rant over ...unless anyone can think of anything else ;)

Permit to travel are useful as they are a way of showing you've attempted to atleast try and get a ticket in some form. My old station on SE had no ticket machine, ticket office open 0600-0900 mon - fri, so it was hard to get tickets from it yet one SE RPI still PF'ed me (because I changed stations with a 2min waiting time between trans with a 5min walk to the barriers)!

High speed services run on High Speed 1, so they are high speed services.

Personally I found them ok tho information provision was lack, something they are working on now massively behind the scenes.
 

Temple

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Hmm, I'm not sure. I mean, I know about Southeastern's horrible reputation of late, short formed trains and poor communication. But in all honesty, I can say I have never really experienced it myself. Sure, there are minor communication problems they have, but nothing really tragic. It does seem that mainline services are a lot better than metro services?
 

jnjkerbin

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Having travelled on Southeastern for some years now and travelling on most days, generally I think they are a good TOC, although often bad-mouthed because of some of the difficult problems they face e.g. operating in one of the most densely populated areas of the country - lots of passengers = lots of criticism - and having the difficulty of the third rail which is not without it's shortfalls.

Under them in West Kent, Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells has been increased from 2tph (trains per hour) to 4tph off peak. Likewise, Charing Cross to Sevenoaks suburban services have been increased from 1tph to 2tph, with the Orpington-London section getting 4tph suburban services.

Their communication (particularly during poor weather) has been critiscised although I remember a ticket office remaining open longer than usual at an otherwise unstaffed station to allow the person there to keep passengers up to date on when the next train would probably be.

As far as HS1 and services in East Kent are I can't say but certainly on my patch there have been vast improvements.

Joe
 
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neilm

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I think it is a very difficult franchise with high density metro services and some long distance (over 2 hours) trains. I use them from time to time but they have let me down several times, the main one is trains cancelled at London Bridge with no information at all, going from on time to cancelled and there communication is poor, they have a twitter account which they do not reply to, which is bad compared to other train operators in and out of London all have them now.
 

VTPreston_Tez

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Southeastern were my favorite company on my monopoly tour of London. The seats, yeah a bit crammed together to fit more people onboard, but the ride was great with the announcer being perfectly on cue and an announcement when the train was held in the Deptford area!
395s look nice, I was on the one at York and now know how to operate it <D so props to the Southeastern and Hitachi reps that were there.
I really do like Southeastern, wish I could ride them more. (Then again I'm the kind of guy who prefers to ride Voyagers over Pendos)
 

Mintona

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The trains only run at 125mph, they only run at 140mph to make up time. This was very helpful to them as it saved them paying out in the winter 2 years ago when they didn't run a service for days.

Absolutely not true with regard to the high speed trains. And I don't remember a winter with no service at all? High speed and metro routes still ran as normal, with limited service on most mainline routes. Some lines were completely closed, but the majority weren't.
 

Bungle73

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As I recall, when we had that snow the HS service weren't affected (don't ask me why because they use the 3rd rail for part pf the journey).

Last time I purchased a Permit to Travel I got told by the guy in the ticket office at Sittingbourne not to buy one, so now I don't.

One thing I find annoying is that every single time (and this isn't an exaggeration) I catch an evening train home from Victoria the train always starts crawling along and we end up about 10 or more minutes late by the time we get to my station. This puts me in serious danger of missing my connection to Kemsley. On Tuesday I only made it by about 30 seconds. That made me aware of why I choose to travel from St. Pancras these days.
 

neilm

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Yes they included the high speed in there performance so they still met the passengers charter by 0.04% so people that had no service or very poor service got 0 compensation. But I think it was lack of information over this period that was more of the issue than anything.
 

SF-02

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The main problem with SE is communications. On metro last summer short formed and cancellations increased substantially. It turned out this was due to train upgrade work. Thing is they never told anyone of this, or when it was due to end, so people could plan. No information on their website about it, no accurate response to letters, nothing. Also they were very unreliable in putting info on their website or platforms that 8 coach trains would be 4, for example. It would not be displayed or displayed incorrectly.

When contacted they insisted it was due to upgrading for winter/snow preparations. By the winter it turned out that was carried out on only a few mainline trains not metro stock and metro stock was not moved to cover mainline either as far as I am aware. In fact more trains with first class sections were appearing on metro strangley. There was a sense they were running on empty, stock wise.

Fortunately things have improved since then but it was very poor for about 5 months.

Also they are one of the only TOC that do not have a real person on twitter.

One other problem, though not their fault I think but the DfTs when drawing up the franchise, is the almost complete lack of special offers. North Kent and SE London are not generally wealthy areas, & most Kent coastal resorts could really do with extra visitors, but hardly any cheap tickets are available. Compared with Southern special offers to the south coast and South West trains to Bournemouth etc, SE deals are absent and fares high. Thus many go to Brighton for a fiver rather than Kent for double or triple the fare.
 
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neilm

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The main problem with SE is communications. On metro last summer short formed and cancellations increased substantially. It turned out this was due to train upgrade work. Thing is they never told anyone of this, or when it was due to end, so people could plan. No information on their website about it, no accurate response to letters, nothing. Also they were very unreliable in putting info on their website or platforms that 8 coach trains would be 4, for example. It would not be displayed or displayed incorrectly.

When contacted they insisted it was due to upgrading for winter/snow preparations. By the winter it turned out that was carried out on only a few mainline trains not metro stock and metro stock was not moved to cover mainline either as far as I am aware. In fact more trains with first class sections were appearing on metro strangley. There was a sense they were running on empty, stock wise.

Fortunately things have improved since then but it was very poor for about 5 months.

Also they are one of the only TOC that do not have a real person on twitter.

One other problem, though not their fault I think but the DfTs when drawing up the franchise, is the almost complete lack of special offers. North Kent and SE London are not generally wealthy areas, & most Kent coastal resorts could really do with extra visitors, but hardly any cheap tickets are available. Compared with Southern special offers to the south coast and South West trains to Bournemouth etc, SE deals are absent and fares high. Thus many go to Brighton for a fiver rather than Kent for double or triple the fare.

Well said, that is everything I feel summarised. :)
 

atomicdanny

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All i ever see in the newspapers when southeastern are mentioned is that they are only running the network for profit, all the trains are either cancelled or late and all the staff are completely useless jobsworths (and the comments on the daily mail and other websites seem to think this too! - I know its the Daily Mail!) (note this is not my opinion)

I've travelled on them for a long while and have never had anything as bad as people have said (well except once or twice thanks to the snow), but when I've said this and defended some of the staff (some are bad, but there are lots of good nice staff that are really helpful).

Then I get comments saying that "I obviously work for the railway or that I've never travelled on the train before..." (even though I admit that they aren't perfect! but then again on those websites if you don't say that southeastern are all late or cancelled and are crap you are shouted down apparently!).
 

Southern

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Under them in West Kent, Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells has been increased from 2tph (trains per hour) to 4tph off peak. Likewise, Charing Cross to Sevenoaks suburban services have been increased from 1tph to 2tph, with the Orpington-London section getting 4tph suburban services.

As far as HS1 and services in East Kent are I can't say but certainly on my patch there have been vast improvements.

Joe

And unfortunately as a result of those improvements, customers travelling Ashford - Tonbridge/London lost out, forced onto the expensive HS route. The Ashford - Tonbridge section now has a reduced, slower service off - peak so no wonder people switched.

I will say this about Southeastern though - they don't seem to be as bad as they used to be. Staff seem friendlier and the majority of trains I've travelled on have been on time. It is a shame that later services couldn't have been provided East of Ashford for the Games. Hopefully those Javelin Shuttles are being well used now, saw at least two half empty 12-coach 395's depart Stratford for Ebbsfleet only on Sunday night.
 

paul1609

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From my point of view the service reductions were quite sensible on Ashford - Tonbridge/London, 95%+ of the Ashford and beyond traffic off peak has been lost to HS1. The main line trains run near empty from Ashford despite the cheaper fares.
Most peoples attitude is that its only a fiver and saves a round 40 mins or so to many destinations, many peoples trip to London these days will also include a visit to Westfield Stratford City. Sorry but in this case I think SouthEastern got it right, not their critics.
 

Southern

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Empty? I wouldn't call them that, especially at weekends. Comparing the price of Off - Peak returns from Ashford, the difference between HS - Classic is £5.10 but the Anytime difference is £9.80 which is hardly cheap. The same differences apply from my local station in Folkestone. If a customer just wants to go to Charing Cross, you have £21.20 (Folkestone) and £20.70 (Ashford) Super-Off Peak fares that come in at over £14 cheaper than HS fares.
 

Clip

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Last time I purchased a Permit to Travel I got told by the guy in the ticket office at Sittingbourne not to buy one, so now I don't.

.

I bet he said that as he hates filling up the tickets. Can be a fiddly bugger and you can lose afew tickets whilst doing so :lol:
 

TheJRB

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All i ever see in the newspapers when southeastern are mentioned is that they are only running the network for profit, all the trains are either cancelled or late and all the staff are completely useless jobsworths (and the comments on the daily mail and other websites seem to think this too! - I know its the Daily Mail!) (note this is not my opinion)

I've travelled on them for a long while and have never had anything as bad as people have said (well except once or twice thanks to the snow), but when I've said this and defended some of the staff (some are bad, but there are lots of good nice staff that are really helpful).

Then I get comments saying that "I obviously work for the railway or that I've never travelled on the train before..." (even though I admit that they aren't perfect! but then again on those websites if you don't say that southeastern are all late or cancelled and are crap you are shouted down apparently!).
This is exactly what I despise in our media. The attitude of 'if there's nothing to complain about don't mention it' which infects people's minds and adds to the 'UK has the worst of everything' idea. Southeastern are constantly criticized and most of the time for little reason. Fortunately, when all went to plan at London Bridge the other day they had nothing much to moan about.

Empty? I wouldn't call them that, especially at weekends.
I agree. In fact if anything, making all trains call at all stations has made the eight car trains full by Tonbridge on weekends and busy at all other times off-peak. These smaller places like Staplehurst are much busier that I would have initially imagined (although in my experience the same can't quite be said for stations on the Tonbridge-Redhill line off-peak).
 

hozza94

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In the case of Staplehurst, of course it is not empty! When it serves quite a few commuter villages and a market town, I am really not sure whether 2tph is enough for Ashford-Tonbridge when Paddock Wood is on the line as well!
But what was the pre-HS service level for the line?
 

telstarbox

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IIRC in 2001/2002 there was a half-hourly service between Ashford and Tonbridge with the Eurostars slotted between. (Did the Eurostars overtake at Paddock Wood/Headcorn where the platforms are on loops off the main line?)
Once the Eurostars were diverted onto HS1 the service increased to 3 trains per hour but has since been reduced to 2 tph.

Marden and Pluckley weren't served by all trains (maybe 1 tph).
 

Southern

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In the case of Staplehurst, of course it is not empty! When it serves quite a few commuter villages and a market town, I am really not sure whether 2tph is enough for Ashford-Tonbridge when Paddock Wood is on the line as well!
But what was the pre-HS service level for the line?

Looking at Timetable 8, dated 11 December 2006 - 19 May 2007, the off-peak service pattern from Ashford was as follows:

1tph non - stop to Tonbridge, then Waterloo East and Charing X
1tph non - stop to Staplehurst, then Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Waterloo East and Charing X
1tph all stations to Sevenoaks, then Orpington, Petts Wood, London Bridge, Waterloo East
and Charing X
1tph non - stop to Headcorn, then Staplehurst, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Hildenborough, Sevenoaks, Orpington, London Bridge, Waterloo East and Charing X

From memory, the stoppers were overtaken by the fasts at Headcorn.
 

tbtc

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Going off topic, but are there any plans to use the 395s on more services?

The version I understood was that too many were built (for normal service) so that there'd be sufficient for the Olympics, but will they be used more intensively/ on more services after the games have finished?
 
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